Captain America: Civil War



Marvel Studios/Walt Disney Studios

Directed by Anthony Russo & Joe Russo

Produced by Kevin Feige

Screenplay by Christopher Markus/Stephen McFeely

Based on “Captain America” created by Jack Kirby & Joe Simon

If you had asked me a couple of days ago what my favorite Marvel movie is, I’d have said with no hesitation at all; “The Avengers.” But that was before I saw CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR. I am now prepared to not only proclaim that not only is CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is the best of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies but also that it just may be the best superhero movie made to date, period.

I might have said this before in my reviews of “Captain America: The First Avenger” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” but it bears repeating, I think. One of the strengths of the MCU is that movies featuring characters in their solo movies take their time to explore the worlds in which these characters operate. So Iron Man movies are about technology and ways they can be used or misused for good or evil. Thor movies are full of mythology, fantasy and cosmic adventures. And Captain America movies are about political struggles, the role of government intelligence agencies in modern warfare which is so different from the way Steve Rogers knew war back in World War II. And morals are always at the forefront of a Captain America movie. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Captain America movies are so popular now because Steve Rogers embodies a way of life and adherence to core beliefs and morals that we as a country and people have gotten away from but desperately long to get back to. But not Cap. He’s The Last Stand-Up Guy and he’s not ashamed of it either.


Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is engaged in a covert mission in Lagos. His job is to keep a biological weapon out of the hands of Crossbones/Brock Rumlow (Frank Grillo.) Cap has brought along as backup The Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) The Falcon/Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie) and The Scarlet Witch/ Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen.)

They do manage to secure the biological weapon but during the intense fighting, Wanda accidentally destroys an office building which kills a dozen citizens of the isolationist African country Wakanda. This brings King T’Chaka (John Kani) and his son T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) to spearhead what comes to be known as The Sokovia Accords. U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross (William Hurt) presents The Sokovia Accords to The Avengers. If they agree to it and sign it, a United Nations panel will control their activities and supervise The Avengers.

Steve thinks it’s a lousy idea and is surprised that Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.) is all for it. Tony is obviously still dealing with PTSD brought on by not just the Chitauri Invasion of New York but the events of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” as well. Unbeknownst to his friends, Tony’s many chickens have all come home to roost in a big way and that is why he insists that The Avengers sign and abide by The Sokovia Accords.


The situation grows even more hostile and volatile when the representatives of over a hundred countries meet an a conference in Vienna to ratify The Sokovia Accords. The conference is bombed and all the evidence points to James Buchanan Barnes/Bucky/The Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) as the bomber. This situation divides The Avengers even more as Steve believes that Bucky shouldn’t be held responsible for crimes he committed while in a brainwashed state as The Winter Solider.


The Black Widow, War Machine/James Rhodes (Don Cheadle ) The Vision (Paul Bettany) and Spider-Man/Peter Parker take Stark’s side while The Falcon, The Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye/Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner) and Ant-Man/Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) side with Captain America. The battle lines are drawn but there two wild cards in the deck; T’Challa has inherited not only the kingship of Wakanda but the heritage of The Black Panther as well. His agenda does not exactly line up with either Captain America’s or Iron Man’s as he is driven by pure vengeance to exact punishment on the murderer of his father.


And in the background, quietly and methodically working on a plan to destroy The Avengers is a man named Zemo…not the one you’re thinking of. But he is no less dangerous. One of the jaw-dropping moments in this movie that is full of them is watching how Zemo manipulates every other character.

I’m not gonna pussyfoot around on this one; CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is such a finely crafted piece of superhero cinema I honestly am in awe of what the directors, writers and cast have done here. The movie works as both a Captain America solo movie and as an Avengers movie as well, which in itself is no small feat. There’s an exceptionally large cast of characters packed in here but everybody gets a chance to shine. I appreciated how the movie slowed down for such treats as the conversation The Vision and Wanda have while they bond over cooking dinner. I loved the scene where Rhodey and Sam are arguing their points of views about The Sokovia Accords. Remember that these are two black men who have both served in the U.S. military. But they have very different ideas about the role The Avengers should play in the world. And while we’re on the subject, when was the last time you saw a superhero movie that had three black superheroes in prominent roles?


The discussions the characters have about The Sokovia Accords, their responsibility in how they use their powers and their views on how the public sees them now is something that I found fascinating. The world governments are starting to think that maybe superheroes really aren’t all that nice to have around since they seem to attract death and destruction (something that The Vision himself points out in one of the movie’s best scenes.)

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR manages to give us the superhero action we crave (the Free-For-All Brawl at the airport is now the greatest superhero fight scene EVER.) while giving us plenty of deeper emotional stuff such as The Avengers having to deal with the consequences of their actions. The world has united in their demand that The Avengers simply not level cities and then go home in time for Corn Flakes and Captain Kangaroo.


And I have been waiting all my life to see The Black Panther on a movie screen and now I have. Chadwick Boseman (along with Paul Rudd) walks away with the MVP award. And you all know how I feel about Chris Evans. The guy IS Captain America. ‘Nuff Said. And let me just say that I have never been a big Spider-Man fan but after seeing Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man and his smokin’ hot Aunt May (Marisa Tomei) I wouldn’t mind going to see the next Spider-Man movie.


Bottom Line: CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is spectacular entertainment from start to finish. I judge superhero movies by this: do they make me feel the same sense of excitement and wonder that I got from reading the comic books when I was 12 years old? Do they put me in touch with those feelings I got on a Saturday afternoon when I pulled out a stack of of my favorite comics books and read them for hours on end? CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR does indeed make me feel that way. Most movie series decrease in imagination, excitement and pure fun. Not this one. Each succeeding Captain America movie has been better than the one before and CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR is no exception.



3 thoughts on “Captain America: Civil War

  1. This was a damn good movie. I’d give Best Superhero Fight honors to the first Avengers movie. But they managed to make everyone believable, to make us care about the characters (the only one I didn’t feel for was Vizh), and, most important, to move the story forward. They’re succeeding in making us go to each new MCU movie just to find out what happens next. And Tony Stark shows just as much character depth as Steve in this movie.

    Now…what’re they gonna do with Thor and the Hulk??

  2. Every character in the film feels like a real person, with real motivations and fears and desires. Everyone’s actions are justified by the nature of their character, not just the needs of the film. There are so many small moments that work because of this it’s stunning. It’s like the writers and directors actually sat down and said, “Okay, who is Hawkeye? Where has he come from? Who is he? Why is he getting involved?” and then wove all of that into the narrative. The result is that even though Clint only gets a small amount of screen time, all of it works, both on an individual level and on a larger-narrative level.

    And then they did that for each and every character in the film.

    And then they went and thought about how each character in the film feels about every other character in the film they were going to share screen time with, which is what leads to all those great scenes, or even moments, between Stark/Parker, Stark/Clint, Rhodey/Sam, Wanda/Vision, Wanda/Clint, Sam/Bucky, Sharon/Sam, Steve/Sharon, Steve/T’Challa, T’Challa/T’chaka, and on and on.

    And even with all these characters getting all these great moments, CIVIL WAR always felt like a Captain America movie to me, because most of the action, most of the drama, most of the decisions characters make happen because of Steve Rogers standing up and saying, “No.”

    I liked, too, how CIVIL WAR put the big fight smack in the middle of the movie (and you’re right, it’s the best superhero fight sequence ever committed to film), and then had the final fight come down to a personal battle between Cap and Iron Man.

    I was also highly impressed with how the film blended the veterans, the newbies, and the rookies. I was just sort of meh about Scarlet Witch in ULTRON, but Elizabeth Olsen is fantastic here. I went from not really caring whether she was in the film or not to growing more fond of her every time she was on screen.

    Tom Holland is fantastic, too. His running commentary during the airport fight finally gave us a Spider-Man that’s fun, upbeat, and inquisitive (and I say this as someone who liked both Maguire and Garfield). The way Peter and Tony had, like, 3 conversations going on at the same time (about Peter’s gadgets, being a superhero, and “you’re unusually attractive aunt”) had me grinning even before the spider web made its appearance.

    I know everyone’s contract is coming up, but can they actually NOT make a Captain America 4 and 5 and 6? I’d like to see a THOR 4 and an IRON MAN 4, but there’s so much superhero goodness these days, that not getting those two movies isn’t going to ruin my day.

    Not getting more CAP movies would. Not only is Chris Evans as perfect a bit of casting as you’ll ever find, it feels like they’re just scratching the surface on the character and his story.

    Great review, Derrick, and one that has me wanting to go back to the theater to watch CIVIL WAR, again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s